Jan Syrový

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jan Syrový, photo from 1938

Jan Bohumír Syrový (born January 24, 1888 in Třebíč , † October 17, 1970 in Prague ) was a Czechoslovak soldier, legionnaire on the Russian Eastern Front , where he last served as major general and commander in chief of the entire Czechoslovak army corps ; thereafter he was military commander for Bohemia, army general and chief of the general staff , defense minister and prime minister.


After attending school in Třebíč and Brno , where he graduated from the building school in 1907, Syrový served in the Austrian army and then went to Warsaw (at that time in Russia ) in 1912 , where he worked as a construction technician. After the outbreak of World War I , he joined the Czechoslovak legions in Russia. He was wounded in the battle of Zborów (he lost his right eye). He was promoted and awarded several times, in 1918 to Brigadier General. In 1918/1919 he was Commander in Chief of the entire Czechoslovak Army Corps in Russia. Jan Syrový returned to Czechoslovakia in 1920.

After his return, Jan Syrový was the military commander in chief of the Czechoslovak Army for the region of Bohemia (1920-1924). In 1922 Syrový completed a course for generals at the École militaire in Versailles and was then promoted to division general in 1923 . In 1924 Syrový took over the role of Deputy Chief of Staff of the Czechoslovak Army and was promoted to Army General in 1926. From 1926 to 1933 Jan Syrový was finally appointed Chief of Staff of the Czechoslovak Army, replacing the French General Eugène Mittelhauser . Syrový was the first Czech Chief of Staff in the Czechoslovak Army - this post was held by the heads of the French military mission in Czechoslovakia until 1926 .

During this time Syrový held the function of Minister of Defense twice: from March to October 1926 and from September 1938 to April 1939. In 1938 Jan Syrový became Prime Minister and headed two successive governments: Jan Syrový I government (September 22, 1938 to October 4 1938) and Jan Syrový II's government (October 4, 1938 to December 1, 1938). After the resignation of President Edvard Beneš , Syrový also exercised the constitutional functions of President.

In 1938 and 1939, Syrový was confronted with momentous political events. On the second day of his term in office, the mobilization of the Czechoslovak army was put into effect. After the Munich Agreement of September 1938, he had to announce the cession of the Sudetenland as Prime Minister . Having the business of government to the following him Government Rudolf Beran I had given (1 December 1938 to 15 March 1939), he remained as defense minister in office and then had following the decision of the President Emil Hácha the German occupation of the remainder of Czechoslovakia by the armed forces agree and order not to offer any resistance.

After the proclamation of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939, Syrový remained in office for a short time in the protectorate government of Rudolf Beran II . He did not join the resistance, partly because he was under the surveillance of the Gestapo . When the protectorate authorities began to confiscate the property and money reserves of the various successor organizations of the legions, Syrový - with the support of President Alois Eliáš - saved considerable parts of them; they could then be used to support the families of arrested resistance fighters. During the Prague uprising in May 1945, he made contact with the resistance groups.

After the end of the war, Syrový was arrested on May 14, 1945 and labeled a collaborator and traitor. Some photos of Syrový from 1939, when he met Adolf Hitler or Konrad Henlein in his capacity as Defense Minister and Army General made things even more difficult . In April 1947 he was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment and demoted in what was often described as manipulated and political before the then Národní soud (National Court). He spent the next 15 years in the Pankrác prison in Prague, in the penitentiary in the Kartouzy monastery in Valdice , in the Mírov prison , in the Leopoldov prison and in a camp near Marienbad . In 1960 he was released under an amnesty , worked as a night watchman and died in 1970. He is buried in the Olšany Cemetery in Prague.

In view of the problems of the 1947 trial before the Národní soud (National Court ), which played a special role in the structure of the jurisdiction , the then Justice Minister Jiří Novák applied for a review of the judgment for breaking the law in 1995 . The Supreme Court (Nejvyšší soud) of the Czech Republic ruled this request negatively in the same year, arguing that the decisions of the national court cannot be subsequently revised. Jan Syrový is therefore one of the few victims of questionable decisions made in the post-war period that were not rehabilitated.


Jan Syrový received four Czechoslovak, two Belgian, one Estonian, five French, two Italian, one Japanese, four Yugoslav, one Lithuanian, two Latvian, one Moroccan, one Polish, four Romanian, four Russian, two Greek, one Tunisian awards and one Award from Great Britain - 36 awards in total including:

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e Michaela Ducháčková: Jan Syrový (January 24, 1888– October 17, 1970) , biography of the Information Center of the Government of the Czech Republic, online at: icv.vlada.cz / ...
  2. a b c d Jan Syrový , short biography of the Government Office of the Czech Republic, online at: vlada.cz/
  3. a b Pavel Šrámek: Armádní generál Jan Syrový , biography, online at: armada.vojenstvi.cz / ...
  4. a b Jan Syrový , brief overview on totalita.cz , online on: totalita.cz / ...
  5. Karel Straka: Francouzská vojenská mise v Československu 1919–1938 , publication of the Vojenský historický ústav VHÚ (Military History Institute) of the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic, online at: vhu.cz ...
  6. a b c Jan Syrový, armádní generál , biography, online at: codyprint.cz / ...
  7. Armádní generál Jan Syrový o situaci v září 1938 , interview with Jan Syrový from Vojtěch Šír on October 9, 2003, online at: fronta.cz / ...

Web links

Commons : Jan Syrový  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files